DETROIT – Now in his fourth season, Rick Porcello has a lot of experience for a 23-year-old.
Detroit hopes he’s finally ready to become one of the game’s elite pitchers.
Porcello threw seven solid innings on a snowy afternoon at Comerica Park, and Detroit’s powerful offense finally broke through in the eighth Tuesday to give the Tigers a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Miguel Cabrera doubled and scored on Prince Fielder’s single, part of a decisive three-run rally.
Porcello allowed two runs and seven hits, working at a comfortable pace in the chilly weather.
I don’t think I even realized how fast I was going, Porcello said. I was throwing strikes and I guess wanted to keep that going.
After Fielder’s tiebreaking single, a light snow shower passed briefly over Comerica Park. Jhonny Peralta added a sacrifice fly and Gerald Laird followed with an RBI single for a three-run lead.
Phil Coke (1-0) pitched the eighth in relief of Porcello, and Jose Valverde finished for his first save of the season. Valverde blew a save chance for the first time since 2010 in Thursday’s opener.
Austin Jackson homered for Detroit, the AL’s last unbeaten team after handing the Rays their first defeat.
Porcello struck out four and walked one in a game that began amid snow flurries with the temperature in the 40s.
He commanded the fastball on both sides of the plate and when he does that, he pitches like he did today, said Laird, Detroit’s catcher. Running sinkers in on them and then sinkers away, they didn’t know what to look for. Throwing his offspeed pitches off that, I definitely think it’s a great building point for him.
Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked five – one intentionally – and struck out four.
BLUE JAYS 7, RED SOX 3: In Toronto, Kyle Drabek won for the first time since June, Edwin Encarnacion homered and Toronto beat Boston.
Drabek (1-0) struggled in two starts against Boston last season, allowing 12 runs and 15 hits and taking a loss in a 14-1 defeat on June 12, his last start before being demoted.
MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0: In Arlington, Texas, Neftali Feliz pitched seven crisp innings in his first major league start and Texas beat Seattle.
Feliz allowed four hits and struck out four in his first game since the former closer failed to hold a two-run lead in Game 6 of the World Series.
David Murphy had three hits and drove in the only run.
WHITE SOX-INDIANS, ppd.: In Cleveland, the game between Chicago and Cleveland was postponed by rain and cold weather. There was no immediate word on a makeup date.